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  • Ecological continuity Vezins Poutes

    A film directed by EDF, Onema and the Seine-Normandy water agency
    showing two major examples of restoration continuity on two French rivers

  • The 31st Genreal Assembely of NASCO, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization

    organized with the support of Onema, took place in Saint Malo from the 3rd to the 6th June 2014 The official website

    For more information on this meeting

  • The Atlantic Salmon in France

    Overview, Fisheries, Habitats restoration, Restocking...

    With contributions from B.Valadou, A.Richard, MA.Arago, M.Chanseau, V-Vauclin and V.Burgun (Onema)

Crucial NASCO meeting in Saint-Malo to save the Atlantic salmon

In June, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) met in Saint-Malo for its 31st general assembly to discuss the worrisome situation of Atlantic salmon. The meeting was organised by Onema at the request of the Ecology ministry.

In spite of significant reductions in catches, salmon populations in the North Atlantic have dropped from 10 million in the 1970s to only 3.6 million today. In France, the migratory species may still be found in approximately 50 rivers, but the numbers of fish remain very low and are, in some cases, insufficient to maintain the population, e.g. in the Loire basin. Scientists and managers from the NASCO Member States met for their 31st general assembly in Saint-Malo in June 2014 to discuss current research and the measures required to preserve the Atlantic salmon. One of the first measures adopted was an international project to monitor the migratory paths of the fish in order to understand the factors influencing their mortality in the sea.

Improving and maintaining ecological continuity

The 31st general assembly was also a chance to present the progress made in work on fisheries management, habitat restoration and aquaculture. Each Member State is currently working on a five-year plan (2013-2018) targeting several measures in order to comply with NASCO recommendations. Bénédicte Valadou, the scientific officer for the migratory-fish management plan at Onema, the agency in charge of French efforts, presented "the efforts made in France to improve ecological continuity, based notably on the stipulations of the Water framework directive, but also on the negotiations to renew dam concessions and the Eel-management plan".

To illustrate those efforts, a film co-produced by Onema, EDF and the Seine-Normandie water agency presented two outstanding projects to restore ecological continuity, namely the work on the Poutès dam on the Allier River (Haute-Loire department) and the removal of the Vezins and Roche-qui-boit dams on the Sélune River (Manche department). The meeting participants also visited the Mont Saint-Michel bay and the Sélune valley where the removal of the two dams will restore 20 kilometres of river to its natural conditions.


Better define salmon conservation limits

A special session addressed the topic of mixed stocks, i.e. groups of fish comprising individuals from at least two different rivers. The meeting stressed the importance of correctly managing mixed-stock fisheries. This is because some of the fish caught may come from a river in which the salmon population has fallen below the conservation limit, i.e. the threshold required for the population to renew itself.

The intergovernmental organisation NASCO hopes to see further work undertaken on conservation limits. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) provided an equation to address the issue, but only a small number of countries have actually implemented it. As noted by Bénédicte Valadou, "By taking into account the ICES proposal and setting up an ad-hoc work group, NASCO would like to standardise calculation methods for conservation limits, which would make it possible to truly compare the different populations".

Contact: benedicte.valadou@onema.fr

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